A new scheme – Race For Nature’s Recovery – is being launched to shake-up one of the UK’s least diverse sectors. With more than 30 organisations on board, the initiative aims to transform the environmental sector by creating hundreds of jobs for 16-24 year olds from BAME backgrounds.
Developed through a collaboration between Action for Conservation, Generation Success, Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) and Voyage Youth, the scheme is a step in the right direction. By harnessing support made available through the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme, the Race For Nature’s Recovery ecosystem is on a mission to increase the numbers of environment professionals identifying as minorities: currently a paltry 3.1%.
I hope it will spur more organisations and people to take action – James Adeleke, CEO at Generation Success
Among the first companies and charities offering six-month placements are London Zoo, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, and the Institution of Environmental Sciences. The types of jobs currently on offer include roles in: social media, research, marketing, administration, and conservation. The goal is for more than 50% of these positions to become full time.
“The UK environmental sector’s failure to recognise climate justice and anti-racism as inextricably linked is, in part, reflective of the exclusion of black and brown folks from these spaces,” said Larissa Kennedy, President of SOS-UK. “This initiative will help redress that. The number of organisations from across the UK ready to take tangible action has been phenomenal – it’s clear they’ve recognised the importance of bringing young people of colour’s voices from the margins to the centre of our movement and are committed to making a change. Placing our initial cohort of 118 young people into these roles will be the first step towards a more inclusive, anti-racist environmental sector. Through this scheme, we can strengthen the sector and help support the mighty effort that will be needed in the months and years ahead, in the fight for climate justice.”
While the architects of the scheme and its initial backers have undoubtedly laid down a marker, it is vital others now follow their lead, lend their support and help accelerate the impact Race For Nature’s Recovery can make. The scheme can also help inspire change makers worldwide striving to affect meaningful change.